Bash Buzz: 02.26.01

February 26, 2001, 12:00 AM EST

Summer events might be light on the celebrity factor. As Hollywood prepares for a potential Screen Actors Guild strike, a story on raises a question important to lots of events: Will SAG forbid its members to participate in promotional and publicity activities during a strike? During the three-month SAG strike in 1980, the union considered promotional appearances struck work as part of its walkout strategy, and Hollywood is buzzing about what will happen when SAG's contract expires on June 30. Pat Kingsley, the head of publicity machine PMK, told Inside, “As I understand it, they (actors) cannot do any TV interviews, any premieres or any photo shoots.” That may mean that studios will move up or cancel press junkets and promotional activities, which could make for a summer light on premieres and other celeb-packed parties. But that could be good news for other event planners: After all, if the actors aren't promoting their work--or working, for that matter--maybe they'll be willing to spend their time at other types of events.

After 12 days of fashion shows, parties, after-parties, launches and receptions, Fashion Wire Daily event reporter Catherine Townsend says fashionistas agree on one thing: They're tired. And the numerous gaffes during this year's much maligned Fashion Week didn't help. Hot designer Miguel Androver had editors waiting outside in chilly winds for almost an hour, and the Visionaire party kept guests waiting in line while fire marshals threatened to shut the party down. But some events went off well. “The promise of models and gratuitous nudity always seems to fill a room, like at the Cosmopolitan magazine party for Shoshanna Lonstein where women swathed in tiny bikinis let men sign their inner thighs with magic markers,“ Townsend writes. “And the Hugo Boss party that had male models in the [label's] underwear lounging in Roman tents was packed. Coincidence? We think not.” We've certainly seen our share of near-naked models at events, including the Union Square's W hotel's grand opening and a party for photographer Francesco Scavullo.

Despite a rave for the actual TV show, panned last Wednesday night's Sopranos premiere party at the Hilton New York. The gripes started right at the beginning: “After going through the revolving front doors of the hotel, the partygoers--and there were hundreds of them--were herded past a round of bouncers, up an escalator, past another round of bouncers, into a coat-check room, up another escalator and into the ballroom. 'What's with all the fucking rules?' asked one of the attendees, pretty much summing up the tone of the evening.” The party was considerably less fabulous than the event HBO threw for the mob series last year. “Much of the banquet room was packed with the show's cast and crew, along with a crush of family and friends bused in from the other side of the Hudson River,” the site reports. “Monochrome shirts and ties were the sartorial standard. Hair was big.”

If chairs seems so last century to you, this trend might be what you're looking for to make your next event stand out. According to The New York Times, the newest restaurant trend is bed seating: Instead of tables and chairs, guests get only a sheet-covered mattress and maybe some pillows and a tray for food. The trend originated in Amsterdam and has gained popularity in the states by way of Miami, where the hottest bed-seating venue is BED (short for “Beverages, Entertaining, Dining"). New Yorkers will get their own TriBeCa branch of BED in May. (In the meantime, Rande Gerber's Underbar in the W New York in Union Square, the Hudson Hotel courtyard and the APT lounge in the meatpacking district all have varying amounts of bed seating.)

For special events, bed seating is just another example of the alternative seating trend (something we included in our Event Trends of 2000 special report). Putting guests to bed is a cool twist on the not-enough-places-to-sit problem: One king-size bed can accomodate several people comfortably, barring any guests with hang-ups about sharing a bed with strangers. As for special precautions, stick to solid finger foods (no soups), and have extra sets of sheets on hand to remove traces of an hors d'oeuvres accident.

What will events look like in 20 years? No one knows, but restaurateur Danny Meyer--of Eleven Madison Park, Gramercy Tavern, Tabla and Union Square Cafe--gives some insight in Metropolitan Home magazine's March/April issue. As part of the mag's 20th anniversary special issue, its editors asked a group of experts, “How will we be living in 20 years?” Meyer says restaurants (and, we presume, events) will keep providing “emotional and gustatory comfort.” His prediction: “Anything that will provide emotional comfort will be popular, whether that's table spacing, ceiling height or lighting. The more tech our society gets, the more people will need a certain 'realness.' There will be a reaction against all of the virtualness, and restaurants are one of society's antidotes--they're about stopping rather than continuing and doing.”

What do other experts predict for the future of events? Check out our Special Report: Trends for 2001.

Posted 02.26.01

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